Water Ski Tow Bar? Water Ski Tow Bar?
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    Water Ski Tow Bar?
from Jaker (  
2/21/2001 3:53:00 PM


 Does anyone know of the water ski /tow rope adapter for bass boats? I have a stratos extreme and they offer this as an option, and I was wondering if this can be purchased as an aftermarket product, or if anyone has actually used something like this...I wanna use my boat to tow some tubers, but want to make sure I am properly towing them with the right equipment!




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   Pylon from Uncle Pauper (  2/21/2001 4:43:00 PM
 You can buy them as aftermarket items from Bass Pro Shops I believe, and from other places as well. But if you are concerned about using the right equipment, towing with the old fashioned bridle on the stern eyes is fine and won't hurt anything. In fact, the boat would have better leverage that way if you should decide to pull some heavy skiers. The pylon, while convenient, actually works against the leverage of the boat, particularly when mounted right in the stern area. That's why tournament inboards have them towards the front--just like a tugboat. I have a pylon in my boat that came with it and is mounted towards the rear, but to really pull a big load (like 4 or 5 skiers) I'd probably use the stern eyes for better leverage.

The biggest advantages of the pylon are convenience and a rigid connection point for the end of the towrope.

   ski bar from neal  2/21/2001 4:46:00 PM
 Overtons has the ski poles. They are about 3' high, and mount in your rear seat pedestal hole. You will also have to mount two pins in your cap or deck for the support beams.

If you are just pulling tubers, you can tow off of the rear tie down rings. THey make a pulley and harness that attaches to both, so the pull point stays centered behind the boat.

If you are pulling skiers, definitely get the pole. It makes it much easier to get up.

   the pole is nice from Chadc (  2/21/2001 6:29:00 PM
  The ski pole mounts into the rear pedestal mount and has 2 support poles that connect to 2 permanently attached devices on the rear deck area of the boat. The pole is nice because it keeps much of the rope out of the water when the skier is skiing. If you just tie off to the rear tiedowns, the skirope will easily drop into the water during turns and make it hard for the skier to turn. You cannot use the pole for tubes though. If you tow skiers a lot, the pole is definately worth it.

good luck,


   Get the pylon from Joe_M (  2/21/2001 6:31:00 PM
 We ski a lot behind many different boats, I/O's, Outboards and Inboards. What is common among all is that the lower your point of contact to the boat, the harder the boat will have to work to get you up on plane. If a 200lb slalom or pair of tubers is acting like an anchor attached to the boat by the transom, the boat will likely dig deeper with the added weight connected to the rear of the boat, taking longer to plane. Your tubers will get swamped until the boat planes.

IMHO you want to get your point of contact with the boat as high as possible. This is especially true if you may use the boat for a wake board in the future. A wake board rider wants to jump. Connecting to the transom will pull the rider down when they try to jump. That is why the competition wake board boats have the big aluminum tower structure.

   tow rope from Mike m (  2/21/2001 6:40:00 PM
 i have a small bass boat(15 procraft) that i use to pull skiers.i purchased a ski briddle at bass pro shop it attaches to the stern eyes and it works great!there are 2 different types 1 has a fixed piont were the ski rope attaches and the other has a pulley that rides along the rope. i have the pulley type,it prevents my boat from crabing when the skier is to the left or right of the stern of the boat

   Joe M and Chad C from Uncle Pauper (  2/21/2001 7:47:00 PM
 Joe M, I disagree with you. True, if the rope is up higher then theoretically it helps pull the skier UP (vertical). However, the pylon acts like a lever on the back of the boat. The pull against that lever causes the bow to be pulled up and consequently you get less forward pull. This prolongs the takeoff time. Remember, you have to pull that skier FORWARD to get them up. If there is any dispute about this, take a look at how the ski clubs set up their twin-rigged Hydrodynes. They use the pylon for most of the smaller acts, and even for pulling the barefoot line up at the beginning of their opening acts (pops a BIG wheelie doing it too). But, for the big, grand finale pyramids where they are pulling 20-30 people, the ropes are connected into a central, very thick rope that is attached to an eye in the transom between the motors. The reason is the boats would never have enough leverage to pull that many people off of the dock if the rope was hooked to the pylon, particularly with the weight of twin (or sometimes triple) V-6s hanging on the back of the boat. The boat would stand right up on end and they'd collapse into the water and never come out. Now, on the inboards, the wheelies don't happen because on most of them the pylon is in front of the engine and has a major leverage advantage. But that's neither here nor there to me because I haven't been behind an inboard yet that is worth a crap. Their wakes are the size of the summit of Mt. Everest and twice as hard.

Chad C--Why can't you use the pylon for towing tubers? I never had a problem. I think it helps provide a little more lift to the front of the tube and helps it to leap over waves, just like riders want it to. You did make a good point about it keeping the rope up and out of the way. I use mine for the convenience, and because it does help keep the rope up out of the spray when I am really laying down and cutting hard.

I skied for a long time with the bridle, but for the convenience and the slightly better towrope performance, I do prefer the pylon.

   Tow pylons from BoatinNuke (  2/21/2001 7:53:00 PM
 Pylons are the best for skiing / wakeboarding / (insert your favorite watersport here). However, most pylon manufacturers recommend NOT towing tubes from them (this also will void the warranty on some) since the tube will put a lot of stress on the pylon while doing a slingshot maneuver (and what fun is tubing without the ole' slingshot?!) I have towed a tube many times on my pylon with no adverse effects, with some pretty good sized guys on the tube (~250 lbs). I mostly use the pylon for wakeboarding and skiing, and you can't beat the extra rope height that a pylon gives you - makes getting air a lot easier (why do you think wakeboarding boats have that huge tower on them?). If you plan on doing watersports on a regular basis, definitely get a pylon. If it's just tubing, use the stern eyes.

   tubers from Chadc (  2/21/2001 9:07:00 PM
 the only reason I said you cant use tubes on the pylon is because it is printed directly on the pole that it is not recommended. I suppose you could do it if you felt like it, but there is a chance you could break it.


   Warning! Be damn careful with these add-on tow bars!! from wavemaker  2/21/2001 9:21:00 PM
  BaotinNuke is right about the pylon manufacturers recommending NOT towing tubes from them. If everything is done right, they can take a lot of load...... but with a tube the loads can add up fast, and they can collapse.

It's important to keep the angle of the support bars per the specs. Unfortunatly, some of the bassboat decks don't allow this, as it depends on the width. Also, make sure you anchor the pylon from below deck. Don't rely just on the pin to stay in the hole thru friction.

These pylons can fail in a extreemly nasty way!! We had two fatlities last year here in MN from them. One case invloved a 4 year old girl riding on a tube with her Dad. It's not to hard to imagine just how much that would suck.

be very careful!


   Tube Amplifiers...and Big Bertha from wavemaker  2/21/2001 11:21:00 PM
 Just a couple more comments since a couple of you guys seem to like the physics of all this. LOL

Uncle Pauper is right in the general analysis. But there's one more component to consider. With a skier, the "typical" force curve is fairly smooth. With a tube, the old F=m*a can look "shocky" because the tube can decelerate rapidly in waves. To top it off, the mass and drag can be much greater...esp. with the monster tubes like Big Bertha.

The bottom line is, the peak stress can go thru the roof because it's more like an impact, and that's when these bars tend to collapse.....

   Pylon failures from Uncle Pauper (  2/22/2001 10:01:00 AM
 I don't doubt but what these aftermarket plug-in pylons could fail in severe conditions, as they are not that heavily constructed. A friend of mine has one similar to those that came from the factory on his Checkmate. But we pulled two slaloms up from a deep water start with it with no problems. The one in my boat is also from the factory, but is about 2" diameter solid aluminum, and runs through the deck into a base that is mounted into the floor of the boat. It has a lanyard pin for quick removal.

I can see where if you really cracked the whip with a tuber you would get a sudden force, but I've never pulled a tuber that put half the stress on it in the turns that a medium-sized slalom skier would. Maybe that's because I usually keep the whip-cracking to a sane level. Remember, that skier is able to dig in and concentrate all of his force in a narrow area. The tuber planes over a larger water area. Also, you tend to ski at a faster speed than tubing, so when that slalom skier cuts a hard, Z-shaped turn that yanks the boat back by about 2-3 mph, you know that it is a sudden, severe force.

   I have a stainless steel Ski Bar from Tray (  2/22/2001 12:02:00 PM
 My 95 Stratos 201 FS came with a 2" thick stainless steel ski bar. I have yet to pull anything with it as I got it at the end of last summer. I would imaguine it should be stout enough to handle a tube! What do you think?

   last cast..... from wavemaker  2/22/2001 8:11:00 PM
 Last cast on this, since it's getting on the 2nd page.

UP, you're right about the lesser construction of the aftermarket pylons.

So the question is, why do the manufacturers warn against tubes...why these pylons failures with tubes????

With a slalom skier, yes!! They cut and pull hard, there's no doubt they can slow the boat for sure. Two things.... none the less it's a smooth force curve, esp. as compared to an impact spike, and it's spread over a second or two.

What happens with a tube is very incedious. You start off planning and all is well. Then hit a few big waves.... even if only due to rough water or wakes. And yes! The tube covers much larger surface area, so all the more to impact you with. It can act like an, on again, off again sea anchor, only it's acting at high speed. You're impacting the pylon. The lesser type tow bars could collapse, depending on a lot of factors (weight, impact etc.), but the boat might not even slow down for a second...

You'd need an accelerometer, or an impact register to prove it to yourself, but the "spikes" in the force curve might be not just 2X or 3X higher, but could be orders of magnitude higher in a very short time frame....milliseconds. Think about it this way. Imagine pressing a nail vs hammering it into a 2x4. A hammer, as light as it is, can generate one hell of a force under the accerleration of impact.



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